The Internet has allowed for faster communications to the point that geography has nearly ceased to be an issue in many areas of business. It’s a 24-hour business world out there, and the companies that succeed are those who are able to keep running as steadily as possible throughout the global day.
Unified communications (UC) technologies make that happen.
UC is a network architecture that takes all of a business’s communications– from emails to telephone calls– and converts them all into a single universal stream of data that can go anywhere in the world at the speed of light. Alongside the human-messaging benefits, UC also allows for extended worldwide networks, allowing universal access to workers wherever they are.
This combination of utility and versatility opens up business to a whole new world of potential.
Benefits of UC Systems
UC can streamline virtually any area of a company’s communications. Some of those areas are these:
- Find Me/Follow Me: The system has a list of potential contact locations for an employee, and it will systematically work through them to locate that person and deliver a message.
- Message format portability: Voicemails could be encoded as MP3s and emailed, or they could be transcribed to text and SMSed. Text messages could be computer-read as phone calls. Any message can be moved into any other format to ensure it goes through.
- Live document collaboration: Cloud-stored documents on a UC system can be accessed and edited by multiple users, worldwide, with only a few seconds lag at most.
- Videoconferencing: UC allows employees to videoconference as they collaborate on documents, allowing for true global telepresence.
- Offsiting and virtualization: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other offsite IT offerings are easily folded into an existing UC structure, allowing for rapid expandability and response to changing conditions.
- Telecommuting: Every employee who doesn’t need to enter the office is more money saved on daily expenses. Further, easier telecommuting allows sick employees to remain productive without infecting an office in the process.
UC turns the world into a business network with access points wherever they’re needed. UC forms the backbone of virtually every multi-national corporation’s processes, and it’s now increasingly in use among organizations of all sizes.
UC: Hard Numbers
These aren’t idle claims. Repeated surveys have demonstrated that UC is coming increasingly into general usage, and that businesses are seeing real benefits from it.
- Broadly speaking, companies implementing UC see 25-40% productivity gains, especially in multi-site projects.
- In a Collaboration Paradox research study, 78% of C-level execs reported overall benefits. 83% reported improved teamwork.
- Reasons for adopting UC are varied. One survey found that 61% of respondents reported that the employee benefits were their top reason for adopting. Another 64% cited unified messaging as the most important feature.
- According to research commissioned by British Telephone (BT), UC has becoming a strong driver in the hybrid-cloud market. Its uses are going well beyond simple communications.
- That same BT study also found absenteeism reduced by up to 60%, and travel costs reduced by up to 30%.
UC: The Global Future?
Any business looking beyond its first location can potentially see large returns from UC. Establishing a UC system early in a company’s life will make future expansions easier, as well as removing many of the barriers to global commerce that would otherwise hold a firm back.
Business has already gone real-time. It’s up to the rest of global enterprises to keep up, and UC is the way to do it.